Career and technical education and post-high school job training and retraining are essential to the economic viability of rural communities. For that reason, the American Farm Bureau Federation is urging congressional support for H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.

The bill reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. In a letter sent to House lawmakers, AFBF encouraged reauthorization of the bill.

"A skilled workforce is needed in rural America, just as it is in urban and suburban communities," wrote AFBF President Zippy Duvall.

Duvall pointed out the bill would provide agriculture education programs the funding assistance needed to create a well-rounded practical approach to learning through classroom education. This would include topics such as plant and animal sciences, horticulture, forestry and agri-marketing, in addition to hands-on supervised agricultural career experiences, such as starting a business or working for an established company.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved H.R. 5587 earlier this month. AFBF urges the full House to promptly approve the legislation.